First Positive West Nile Virus Case in Westchester


mosquitoWestchester County has learned of its first human case of West Nile Virus this year, which was confirmed today in a 71-year-old Larchmont resident who is hospitalized. The Westchester County Department of Health searched for signs of mosquito breeding activity in the surrounding area. If needed, nearby catch basins will be retreated with larvicide.

“This first case should serve as a reminder to residents to discard any standing water from their property and to use repellents if they spend time outdoors from dusk to dawn, when mosquitoes are most active,” said Sherlita Amler, MD, Commissioner of Health.

As in prior years, the Health Department prepared for the summer mosquito season by applying larvicide briquettes to more than 40,000 street catch basins that held standing water on county and local roads in an effort to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne diseases such as the West Nile virus. Residents should continue to do their part by removing standing water where mosquitoes can breed and using insect repellent if they spend time outdoors during dawn or dusk hours when mosquitoes are most active.

So far this year, three positive mosquito batches were identified in Westchester, starting July 24.

West Nile Virus infection most often causes a mild or moderate flu-like illness, but can be more serious and potentially fatal in people 50 and older, and  those with other health complications.

To help eliminate mosquito breeding grounds where you live:

  • Get rid of all water-holding containers, especially old tires, cans, buckets, drums, wheelbarrows and bottles.
  • Cover outdoor trash containers to keep rainwater from accumulating inside.
  • Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are left outdoors.
  • Clean roof gutters and remove standing water from flat roofs (visit for a professional gutter cleaning service)
  • Drain water in birdbaths, plant pots and drip trays twice a week.
  • Sweep driveways after it rains so that they are free of puddles.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. Keep them empty and covered if not in use; drain water that collects in pool covers.

To reduce your risk of mosquito bites:

  • Use insect repellent if you must spend time outdoors from dusk to dawn. Follow the label instructions. Adults can apply insect repellents with up to 10% DEET once a day on infants over 2 months old by applying the product to their own hands and then rubbing it onto their children, avoiding their hands. Products containing DEET should not be used on children under 2 months old. Instead, consider keeping them indoors when mosquitoes are most active, at dusk and dawn.
  • Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and socks when outdoors in areas and at times where and when mosquitoes are active.
  • Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens.
  • Check your property for buckets, containers, pots, toys and tires that can hold standing water.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools and hot tubs and drain water that collects on their covers.
  • Change the water in birdbaths at least twice weekly.
  • Keep storm drains and gutters clear of leaves and debris.

Residents who notice large areas of standing water on public property should report this to the Westchester County Department of Health at (914) 813-5000. For more information, like us at,  follow us on Twitter @wchealthdept or visit

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